The fate of many DACA recipients, undocumented individuals who were brought to the US illegally as children, remains unclear since the Trump administration announced plans to end the Obama-era program earlier this year.

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger says she applauds North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the 10 other governors who last week signed a letter asking Congress to “come together quickly to shape a bipartisan solution that allows our Dreamers to remain in the United States and continue their constructive contributions to our society.”

Hemminger says the United States Conference of Mayors has also pulled together and sent letters about DACA to the federal government.

“It’s estimated we have over 1,000 in Orange County, DACA students. They are visibly studying and engaged and want to lead productive lives in the country they’ve lived in most of their life,” Hemminger said.

While Hemminger encourages local efforts, she says something needs to be done on a federal level.

“This does need to be decided federally and there needs to be a pathway forward, so that each state isn’t making up their own rules as they go along. That’s very confusing, for anyone that’s living here wanting to come here, already here, so we need a policy. And Senator [Thom] Tillis had shown some desire to make some changes, so I encourage, please write, please email, please call their offices and tell them you support this and you want this to move forward,” said Hemminger.

Hemminger also mentioned that immigrants like DACA recipients are important because of the United States’ negative birth rate.

“The only reason we increase in population is through immigration. So, if that’s true, we want to keep, as a country, being able to support as we age. We’re living longer, and we have more people who are in their older years now than we’ve ever had before,” said Hemminger. “Wouldn’t we want the kids who are educated here, and growing up here, and understand and are part of American society being the ones who get the good jobs, and continue the education, and contributing to the tax base, and the economy and all the things that go along with that?”

A report released in June by the National Center for Health Statistics showed the fertility rate in the US at the lowest it’s ever been.